Monday 1 May 2006

chick·en stock cubes

When you have saved your pennies and bought a free range organic, slowly and naturally reared, and properly raised chicken you will want to use every bit of the treat that a chicken has once more become.

As I did for pheasant, I like to use all of a roast chicken with the final product, if you like, being stock. A properly raised chicken has good bones which are full of the goodness of which an intensivly farmed battery chicken can only dream. This goodness is never more obvious than in a stock made from good strong bones. The goodness is amazing - flavourful golden jellied stock.

For convenience sake as well as to take advantage of the analogy that is begging to be made, I like to reduce the stock to concentrate the liquid then freeze it in icecube trays. Easy then, to throw a couple of chicken stock cubes into the pot when the recipe calls for it.

Chicken stock cubes

Break the carcass from a roast chicken into a few smaller pieces and pack into a pot and just cover with cold water. Add flavourings such as whole black peppercorns, half an onion, a stick of celery, a carrot if you want. I don't think it is strictly necessary to add flavourings at this stage especially if the bird was seasoned before it was roasted and you want to end up with a fairly neutral stock. Bring the contents of the pot slowly to simmering point then leave to simmer gently for a couple of hours. Strain the liquid from the solids which can now be discarded. Rinse out the pot and return the liquid. Bring to the boil and reduce by about half. Leave to cool, then strain through muslin and chill in the fridge so the fat rises and solidifies and can easily be removed. Spoon the now jellied stock into ice cube trays and freeze.

Some notes :

This is neither an orthodox nor strict method of making stock, but it is easy and produces a tasty result. The stock will not be crystal clear as a stock can be if it is skimmed and made from a raw chicken.

If you like you can save up carcasses in the freezer to make a larger amount at a time. The stock can be made by covering the still frozen carcasses with water and carrying on from there.

It is not necessary to reduce the stock but it means that it takes up less room in the freezer and the cubes will taste more concentrated.


Emma said...

And thank you Matt! Homemade stock makes you feel good too!

Emma said...

Caroline - I have the strange compulsion to buy a chicken shaped ice cube tray just for doing this. I have managed to resist so far . . . .

Anonymous said...

I followed pretty much the same recipe from:

I assume the last stage - to reduce the stock by half is to ensure that it's far more concentrated.

So... how many dissolved ice cubes are to be used for.. say.. 500ml of defrosted stock? 1 cube and 500ml of boiling water?